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Update on AS movie: David Kelley insuring "philosophical soundnes

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Any time you have someone who can "speak from authority", many people will tend to believe them.
True, but will a potential Objectivist accept an incorrect idea just because an altered movie or a guy who claims to be an Objectivist told them to? Long term, I think being exposed to 98% accurate Objectivism is not going to cause people to blindly and unquestionably accept the 2% of wrong ideas, and that 98% is far, far better that 0%.

If you are "unaware of the basis of a lot of those things anyway," then perhaps you ought not comment upon them without a bit of further study.
I am unaware of the basis for a lot of those Kelley criticisms you made (e.g. the Muslim support,) however I had read enough to question whether he meant belief in open systems meant support of any and every possible idea under the banner of Objectivism. He could simply mean that a philosophy fundamentally based on objectivity must remain objective, even if it means change. Is this what Kelley means by "open system", is it a valid meaning, would it matter? Beyond condemning a man on false grounds, I don't know and don't care.

Would, say, Galt expressing a newfound love for open systems, while an injustice, be a critical violation of the spirit of AS? Even if Kelley weren't involved, there are sure to be more significant deviations than this relative trifle.

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True, but will a potential Objectivist accept an incorrect idea just because an altered movie or a guy who claims to be an Objectivist told them to?

Yes? No? There are lots of people out there who could be "potential Objectivists" and I have no way of divining which ones could be misguided one way or another. As to the rest of your statement, I have no means to evaluate what percentage of Objectivism would be presented accurately by Kelly's influence, nor how damaging that remaining inaccurate percentage would be. Depending on what aspect of Objectivism is misrepresented, that "2%" (or whatever) could be very damaging, perhaps even moreso than the person who has no idea what Objectivism is.

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True, but will a potential Objectivist accept an incorrect idea just because an altered movie or a guy who claims to be an Objectivist told them to? Long term, I think being exposed to 98% accurate Objectivism is not going to cause people to blindly and unquestionably accept the 2% of wrong ideas, and that 98% is far, far better that 0%.

David Kelley's departures from Objectivism are massive -- hardly a mere 2%. (That's a flabbergasting mis-characterization.) David Kelley's philosophy might seem like Objectivism on the surface, particularly to newcomers. That appearance is deceiving: the core (including the concept of 'objectivity') has been rotted away. Yet those superficial similarities are precisely why his errors can be difficult for newcomers to Objectivism to identify, particularly since they often play right into the wrong ideas people often bring to Objectivism. The people sucked into that will learn a philosophy that isn't actually Objectivism -- and the best and brightest will ultimately reject what they think is Objectivism for its mess of problems. Or, as more often happens now, the watered-down nice-nice peddled by TOC is simply of no interest to anyone with half a brain. And so those people might never seriously look at Objectivism again.

So no, exposure to that superficial semblance of Objectivism peddled by David Kelley and company is not "far, far better" than no exposure at all.

Moreover, as has already been noted, David Kelley is not just some guy claiming to be an Objectivist. He's a Ph.D in philosophy and founder of an institute that claims to promote Ayn Rand's philosophy. So to someone new to Objectivism, he's got credibility.

I am unaware of the basis for a lot of those Kelley criticisms you made (e.g. the Muslim support,) however I had read enough to question whether he meant belief in open systems meant support of any and every possible idea under the banner of Objectivism. He could simply mean that a philosophy fundamentally based on objectivity must remain objective, even if it means change. Is this what Kelley means by "open system", is it a valid meaning, would it matter? Beyond condemning a man on false grounds, I don't know and don't care.

Not only did you just misrepresent what I said about Kelley's open system, but you also just whitewashed its actual meaning. However, since you ever-so-strenuously don't care, I won't bother saying more. If you wish to be an ill-informed apologist for David Kelley -- as in this post -- that's your business.

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David Kelley first suggested the open system in A Question of Sanction.

I'd really like to read this article to finally make up my mind on this issue, but the link doesn't work. Most of the sites I have found doing a google search link there, too, however. Does anyone have a link to this article on another website?

Thanks.

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I'd really like to read this article to finally make up my mind on this issue, but the link doesn't work. Most of the sites I have found doing a google search link there, too, however. Does anyone have a link to this article on another website?

There is no live version on the web right now, as far as I know. However, that link (to the web archive version) still works just fine for me. If you still can't get it working, send me an e-mail. I'll e-mail it to you.

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Does anyone have a link to this article on another website?
The link works for me (though took a minute to come up). Do we have a right to make a copy of it to improve its availability?

EDIT: Just saw dianahsieh post: then reposting, may not be needed.

Edited by Olex

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There is no live version on the web right now, as far as I know.

hmmm. One would think that if it was at the heart of Kelley's issue with the mainline, and if he thought ideas were important, he'd have it out for people to see, like Fact and Value is.

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True, but will a potential Objectivist accept an incorrect idea just because an altered movie or a guy who claims to be an Objectivist told them to? Long term, I think being exposed to 98% accurate Objectivism is not going to cause people to blindly and unquestionably accept the 2% of wrong ideas, and that 98% is far, far better that 0%.

Since Diana's already pointed out the problems with the rest of your assertions, I think this one is spurious. If the 2% inaccurate Objectivism happens to be a fundamental that sneaks its way into all sorts of concrete evaluations that might cause a young Objectivist to spend a lot of time spinning their wheels, then yeah it is a big deal. As we learn Objectivism we accept all sorts of ideas implicitly until we have a chance to work them out for ourselves, and insidious little package deals like Kelley's can take a long time to work out, and really only get worked out by the extremely committed and conscientious (Diana's been through this so she has a great perspective) In short, not all 2%'s are created equal.

As to this being a choice of 98% right or 0%, well that's not really the alternative here, and I think suffers from low expectations, or low aim. I have no data that says its' half-baked Objectivism or nothing, and until it really comes to that, I think I'll be advocating fully-baked Objectivism, thank you very much. Why anyone who takes ideas seriously would not do the same is beyond me.

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hmmm. One would think that if it was at the heart of Kelley's issue with the mainline, and if he thought ideas were important, he'd have it out for people to see, like Fact and Value is.
Unless, of course, it is at the heart of Kelley's issue and he now understands the consequence of having it out there for all to see.

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Unless, of course, it is at the heart of Kelley's issue and he now understands the consequence of having it out there for all to see.

If he did understand, then this would be an even bigger indictment. If he realized he was wrong he should be a man and admit it.

It's probably just another problem with his website, though. On the few occasions I've seen it, it has always had problems.

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It's probably just another problem with his website, though. On the few occasions I've seen it, it has always had problems.

As far as I recall, the IOS/TOC/TAS web site has never published "A Question of Sanction." Here's what I was told about it by an IOS-employee:

"1. 'A Question of Sanction' - an out of date, 4 page essay circulated in March 1989. We do not want to encourage its continued circulation because _Truth and Toleration_ gives a more thorough treatment of the issues and that is where interested people should look. (AQOS is reprinted at the end of _T&T_.)"

My personal judgment is that the philosophic errors of T&T are stated far more clearly in AQOS, i.e. without all the extra verbiage.

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Not only did you just misrepresent what I said about Kelley's open system...
...an "open system" according to which Objectivism can mean pretty much whatever anyone wants it to mean.
I had read enough to question whether [Kelley] meant belief in open systems meant support of any and every possible idea under the banner of Objectivism.
This is pretty much a misrepresentation?

...but you also just whitewashed its actual meaning.
Can an open system can have fundamental, unalterable principles? If not, then what is the actual meaning of open system?

Kelley's departures from Objectivism are massive -- hardly a mere 2%. (That's a flabbergasting mis-characterization.)

If you wish to be an ill-informed apologist for David Kelley ... that's your business.

I did not say that Kelley's philosophy is 98% Objectivism, nor is questioning the definition of "open system" equivalent to a defense of his errors.

As we learn Objectivism we accept all sorts of ideas implicitly until we have a chance to work them out for ourselves.
The people sucked into [pseudo-Objectivism] will learn a philosophy that isn't actually Objectivism -- and the best and brightest will ultimately reject what they think is Objectivism for its mess of problems.
I think I understand the concerns here, though I don't agree as to their severity. Are you saying that some people will accept what they think is an Objectivist argument because its made by a (purported) Objectivist authority, and that being mislead to think that, say, Objectivism is an open system will cause some to reject the need to adhere to reality, fundamental depictions of the ideal man, the necessity of productiveness, the impropriety of force, capitalism, the danger of not shrugging, etc etc?

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Can an open system can have fundamental, unalterable principles? If not, then what is the actual meaning of open system?

It is my understanding that an open system cannot have fundamental, unalterable principles. If it did, then it would be "closed" on these points, and would not be an open system anymore.

Based on every context in which I've seen it used by Kelly, his supporters, and other people who have used the term, the meaning seems to be that any given position in a philosophy that is termed "open" is subject to alteration by anyone who wants to claim the term (based on expedience?), whether it is an essential point or not. For instance, Kelly has defended a soul-body dichotomy position and other points that were explicitly and vehemently rejected by Ayn Rand, and which lie at the very root of her whole system-- Kelly disagrees with Ayn Rand on crucial points of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics (and I don't happen to know his political or aesthetic views, but I can only imagine from encounters I've had with some of his supporters...). These are not nitpicky or semantic details-- yet he feels justified in calling his philosophical positions "Objectivism." I know it's absurd to think someone who is a PhD in philosophy and who has ever read Ayn Rand would be so ridiculous, but the "Objectivism can mean pretty much whatever anyone wants it to mean" description is a pretty accurate summery of Kelly's position, as I understand it.

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Hunterrose: If you wish to know my views on the open system, you should read the two essays to which I linked earlier -- along with Chapter 5 of David Kelley's T&T. Then we could talk. Otherwise, you're just wasting everyone's time, including yours and mine.

Update: It's not merely a matter of knowing my views, but understanding what DK's views are -- and what the inherent problems of the open system are, including the untenable arbitrariness of his limits upon change to the system -- and why, in practice, that leads to people replacing almost any tenet of Objectivism with their own pet ideas (e.g. volition with determinism).

Edited by dianahsieh

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Are you saying that some people will accept what they think is an Objectivist argument because its made by a (purported) Objectivist authority, and that being mislead to think that, say, Objectivism is an open system will cause some to reject the need to adhere to reality, fundamental depictions of the ideal man, the necessity of productiveness, the impropriety of force, capitalism, the danger of not shrugging, etc etc?

yup...

What does the assertion that "Israel has a right to defend herself, but her responses should be 'proportional'." do to the principle of a self-interested national defense? It pretends to agree with it, and eviscerates it from the inside. That is exactly what package deals are intended to do. It might as well be an assertion that Israel has no right to defend herself for all it's worth. That's what the open system concept does to Objectivism. So while some won't reject the principles you mention outright, they will implicitly, and thereby commit the sanction of the victim.

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yup...

What does the assertion that "Israel has a right to defend herself, but her responses should be 'proportional'." do to the principle of a self-interested national defense? It pretends to agree with it, and eviscerates it from the inside. That is exactly what package deals are intended to do. It might as well be an assertion that Israel has no right to defend herself for all it's worth. That's what the open system concept does to Objectivism. So while some won't reject the principles you mention outright, they will implicitly, and thereby commit the sanction of the victim.

The most important issue regarding the making of Atlas Shrugged is to get it out there and make it interesting and inspiring enough to make people from all over the world read the book. We've been waiting since the '70s. It sounds like you are all too young to remember "The Fountainhead". It was so awful! Patricia Neal playing Dominique like a mad woman, Gary Cooper so ungracefully aged, and so stilted in the delivery of his lines, and yet I am sure some people read the book who wouldn't have otherwise. The worst thing that can happen to the movie is to make it campy. To make the principles "laughable"--like a whole running joke of "see what happens to your ideas when you smoke" Short of that, more people reading Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's other works is the objective.

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The most important issue regarding the making of Atlas Shrugged is to get it out there and make it interesting and inspiring enough to make people from all over the world read the book. We've been waiting since the '70s. It sounds like you are all too young to remember "The Fountainhead". It was so awful! Patricia Neal playing Dominique like a mad woman, Gary Cooper so ungracefully aged, and so stilted in the delivery of his lines, and yet I am sure some people read the book who wouldn't have otherwise. The worst thing that can happen to the movie is to make it campy. To make the principles "laughable"--like a whole running joke of "see what happens to your ideas when you smoke" Short of that, more people reading Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's other works is the objective.

I was first introduced to Ayn Rand by seeing The Fountainhead movie. Never having read Ayn Rand before, it was an amazing movie. Her ideas came through loud and clear, to me. Now that I've read the book, and seen the movie again (I own it and watch it again every few months), I can see the shortcomings in the movie, which I easily ignored upon first seeing it, because I didn't have anything to compare it to. But whatever shortcomings that movie had are superficial [Edit: I mean, philosophically (in every sense besides aesthetics) superficial. Artistically, they were sometimes pretty bad, but not unbearable (for me, anyway)]. The ideas are there, and they were not compromised or diluted, because Ayn Rand wrote the screen play and had an unprecedented amount of control over the project.

Furthermore, I think Patricia Neal did a fantastic job as Dominique. Her portrayal is one of my favorites in the movie. Dominique was a mad woman, in a certain sense-- through most of the book.

Edited by Bold Standard

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They've decided to make it an action movie, the conclusion of the final script has been leaked to the internet here.

:) Obviously I'm kidding.

Edited by orangesiscool

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A movie is always good news. I just want to see it done. And I want it to be popular. Because if it doesn't meet rational philosophical and aesthetic standards, than at least its popularity will make room for a remake in ten years or so. Kind of like Hamlet.

I just want to see Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) as Francisco. And I want Hank Rearden to be--I forget his name right now--the guy who played Chaucer in A KNIGHTS TALE with Heath Ledger, and who played the evil monk most recently in a DaVinci Code, and who played the naturalist scientist doctor in the sea movie with Russel Crowe. Him--what's his name? This way, Galt and Daneskold can be talented no names, so long as some of the less central characters can be famous stars but won't be in the movie so much.

This would please me.

Jose Gainza.

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...the guy who played Chaucer in A KNIGHTS TALE with Heath Ledger, and who played the evil monk most recently in a DaVinci Code, and who played the naturalist scientist doctor in the sea movie with Russel Crowe. Him--what's his name?

Paul Bettany

-Q

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